Monday, April 2, 2012

169th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,

Focus Hath Charm…

"...we just live together."
“Call me back on your other phone, John suggested, “this will take awhile.”

Whenever possible, early Saturday afternoon is naptime. So I was almost perky when my client and friend called at 4 pm with a computer question. And getting to use my $1.66 a month MagicJack computer phone instead of that minute-by-minute money-gobbling cell phone lifted my spirits even more.

John is always fun to work for and with but today I could hear a special sense of commitment in his voice. He wasn’t giving up so easily in our game of trying to help an inexperienced pilot land a Piper Cub over the phone. He executed every move I suggested with no mini mutterings and no mistakes. In five or six tries and a couple of reboots, we figured out how to open the new program on his new Mac Book Air.

Blackberry and PC is where John started when he began his business. Over time he switched to the iPhone then iPad and recently Mac Air. It is his well thought out strategic plan to “synchronize” all of his business tools, but more important, he is taking ownership of his idea to heart.

That’s probably what I felt. John is into his technology now and not frustrated with machine idiosyncrasies as in the past. He is tech focused and it is his will to be so.

I was a bit euphoric when I hung up because I remembered my own focus epiphany and how great it felt to understand something so critical in life. Of course, my journey was more like a dune buggy ride on the Baja 1000 Off Trail road race, than a smooth Piper Cub landing.

The last few weeks of my Army tour in Germany I began to experience some awful feelings even once coming close to passing out in a restaurant. I shook it off and concentrated on my pending release stateside. Back at my job in St. Louis those feelings returned with a vengeance and I learned they were anxiety and panic attacks. I was depressed which I also learned runs in my family. Not heart attacks, although my mother died of one, or cancer or common diseases like that. We get depressed and live longer than most, suffering all the way.

Since college I wasn’t terribly successful working in the corporate world which probably was the cause of my lower than dirt self esteem. Those suicidal thoughts hurt and scared me half to death.

Then one morning about 6 months into my depression, I had the first of my two life altering epiphanies. I was behind the wheel of my green Beetle on my way to work when I realized “I could not think of anything else.” I said that out loud I remember. Your mind is racing and thinking of a gazillion things but they are all on one subject, your feeling of worthlessness.

My next thought was to do something fun but difficult to get my mind working again. I was a musician playing bass in local jazz bands so I decided to teach myself guitar. That night I bought a $30 Alvarez guitar and a simple classical guitar songbook.

Right after dinner at 6 pm I sat down to play and didn’t move from that chair until midnight. I did that every night for two straight weeks.

The first 12 hours were spent learning to play two bars of quarter notes correctly. The struggle in my brain to coordinate tempo, picking and fingering was herculean. Eight notes and I couldn’t get it right.

At the end of two weeks I realized I had been undepressed for one week. I went right by the depression and did not even notice. Than, too, I could play any number of Etudes in that songbook. Welcome back self-esteem.

That was my second epiphany. Focus was my issue and now focus was my friend along side that wonderful guitar. It’s the first thing I pack when I move and it has never left my sight since that first night. I don’t play the guitar any more, we just live together.

In Tucson, before 9/11, I used my experience in defeating depression to help a few TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) patients. One in particular, Sally (not her real name) was having a terrible time finding a job. In school she was quite a basketball player so I suggested for her mental/physical project she dribble a basketball everywhere she walked, which was most places since she did not have a driver’s license. Focus is the only thing you can do dribbling a basketball or you are chasing after it a lot.

She thought the task was so much fun and again within a few weeks, her smile inflated. The first job she interviewed for ended with a call back even before she made it home. That message on her machine was the best news she had had in years.

People often ask me when I might give up One Can A Week. Perhaps now after reading this update they will understand that focusing on consistently feeding the hungry is an integral part of my being. So never.

Biggest Box of Cereal Ever
If you are wondering how many kids 10 lbs. of cereal can feed, wonder no more. The answer is 110. That huge box of Quaker Oats in the upper left hand corner of the cart says it can fill 110 plus hungry tummies. Sounds reasonable since tummies, like cereal boxes, come in different sizes, too.

We collected a total of 178 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $34.50, a $25.00 check and $9.50 in cash.

See you Sunday,


No comments:

Post a Comment